The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
The rich man rules over the poor man who is dependent upon him. The lender has control over the man who borrows from him. This is the disadvantage we should strive to avoid. What difference does it make that I owe money to someone else? That someone else has a claim on me. In a sense I work for him, for I am earning money to turn over to him.
Desire for comforts and pleasures leads us into indebtedness and keeps us from financial independence. But that very desire then is frustrated because we must work all the harder to satisfy the debt it has created. The rich man and the lender are the ones who get their desire through our labor.
What then do we do? For one, we should follow the teachings of the proverbs to be industrious, to build wealth slowly, and to walk along the righteous path. And then we would do well to follow James' admonition: "Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation," i.e. in his standing in Christ (James 1:9). In Christ we are free; in Christ we are rich. If we would see who we are and what we have in him, then our desire for worldly gain and pleasure would diminish; then, oddly enough, we will do the things that actually lead to greater security and freedom.
For in truth, it is what gives us most pleasure that we become slaves to. If it is of the world, then we become slaves of the world and its lenders; if our pleasure is in Christ, then we become his slaves where we find ultimate freedom.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org